Immigration Reform: The Phone Call Heard Around the Country

New America Media, News Report, Marcelo Ballvé Posted: Nov 19, 2009

NEW YORK--Organizers described them as immigration reform "house parties."
Across the country last night, in churches, schools, immigrant support centers and private homes, backers of immigration reform gathered around telephones (the speaker phone turning the device into a de-facto radio) as Hispanic U.S. legislators laid out the strategy for pushing a reform of the immigration system in 2010.
On the call were Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y.; and Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz. Immigrant rights advocates from various parts of the country also spoke.
In effect, the event was a massive conference call, connecting thousands of immigration reform supporters to one another and to Washington, D.C. decision makers.
The “house parties” came less than a week after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the White House was preparing to push the U.S. Congress on immigration reform early in 2010. 
On the call, the legislators urged listeners -- 16,000 telephone lines were active during the event, connecting tens of thousands of participants -- to call their members of Congress and ask for action on immigration reform.
The immigrant organizers who spoke on the call urged listeners to call their legislators and use their cell phones to text the words "Justice" or "Justicia" to the number 69866. In the coming months, they would receive, via cell phone, updates about actions they might take to advance immigration reform.
The 45-minute call, organized by the Washington, D.C.-based Reform Immigration for America campaign, a coalition of pro-reform organizations, was first conducted in English, and 15 minutes later, in Spanish.
Reps. Grijalva, Gutierrez and Velázquez spoke on both calls.
At Make the Road New York, an immigrant services center in the Jackson Heights section of Queens, the first call was heard during an evening English class, the phone on speaker mode placed on a chair in the middle of the room.
"We're going to make sure that the families that were broken by our system have a pathway to reunification," said Rep. Gutierrez, near the end of the call.
Pietro Idrovo, a 43-year-old Ecuador-born welder, was among those in the classroom.
Although some of his classmates were undocumented immigrants, Idrovo said he was a U.S. citizen and had voted in U.S. elections since 2000.
He said the call had made him feel more engaged with the immigration issue. "Since I came to this country, I've been hearing about immigration, but I had never paid that much attention because I came in legally and I'm a citizen," he said. "But that doesn't change this fact -- I'm an immigrant too."
After the call, the English teacher scrawled a list of items on the writing board, while her immigrant students, young and old, looked on.
"Call Congress," the teacher wrote. Below that, she wrote, "Text Justice."
The students dutifully took notes and began pressing the keys on their cell phones.
Meanwhile, the twang of guitars and wheeze of accordions drifted in from a nearby room -- a neighborhood music group was meeting at the same time.
Then the teacher read out the phone number to powerful New York Sen. Charles Schumer and urged her students to give him a call. Again, the students put their cell phones to work.
Fifteen minutes later it was time for the call in Spanish. Some 50 to 60 immigrants were gathered in a large, brightly painted room, and members of the center's staff handed out plates of arroz con pollo and beverages.
During the call, participants from far-flung states like Arkansas and Iowa dialed in and asked questions of the legislators.
The call to action was repeated: Immigrants should prepare for a concerted grassroots push on immigration reform in the first half of January.
"We're committed to having immigration reform be considered by Congress in the next few months," said Rep. Velázquez.
Among those drifting out of the room after the call was Rosa Y., a 34-year-old Ecuadorean who did not want to give her last name because she does not have papers.
She said she had two children in Ecuador whom she had not seen in nine years, and was mainly interested in immigration reform to have a chance to be with them.
"They should give us a chance to get our papers, so that we can work and help our children get ahead," she said.

Page 1 of 1


User Comments

Brittanicus on Nov 27, 2009 at 18:24:16 said:


The open border movement has started a drive to get those who approve of another disastrous AMNESTY, to send postcards to Washington. Well anti-illegal immigration, pro-sovereignty and--NO--Comprehensive Immigration Reform can do-one-better? Opponents of AMNESTY should call their politician at 202-224-3121, or go there in person to their offices. SPELL OUT TO THE SCREENER OR AID, to take your name and phone number, stating decisively--NO AMNESTY. Then every American, black white, red or brown person, who see this as a treasonous portrayal of American and legal immigrant workers, should also buy a postcard and bombard your Senator or Representative. We can stop this travesty to our immigration laws, because under President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Sen.Gutierrez D-IL, Sen.Harry Reid (D-NV), Speaker N. Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Diane Feinstein D-CA, and the rest of the cast of Un-American characters, will have us paying billions of dollars, to support the 20-30 million plus already here, and then the rolling uncountable numbers that will attack the border once the word is heard from Belize to China.

Another Amnesty will just start a stampede, which all taxpayers will have to support. As the fence is now, the underfunded barrier will not stop the human deluge. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen and a matter of survival in America. A majority of tourists who overstay their tourist visa are illegal aliens. Neither crossing the border or overstaying tourist visas, is a violation against THE RULE OF LAW. Unlike other countries--entering America without permission is a minimal offense/'.This is thanks to globalists, business organizations that politicians have catered to for generations. If our laws--WERE ENFORCED--from the beginning, not weakened or dismantled by previous White House occupancy we would not have been--INVADED? NOW WRITE YOUR POSTCARDS AND REMEMBER TO PUT A STAMP ON IT. GOOGLE--your local and state policy makers or find their electoral address, email address and phone numbers. Even your local phone book has this information. THE OTHER SIDE THINKS WE DON'T HAVE THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE, TO STOP THIS CRAZY MOVE TOWARDS THIS ILL-CONCEIVED AMNESTY? THEY WILL SOON FIND OUT THAT THEY ARE--DEAD WRONG!

We can derail the open border zealots, ACLU, Council of Foreign Relations, Catholic Church, and other congregational faiths and the business owners--NOT FORGETTING FOREIGN NATIONALS--AS WE CAN BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME? Want to save America from OVERPOPULATION, rising illegal immigrant crime, paying for all their education, health care and other unrevealed government ENTITLEMENTS? VOTE THE MORONS OUT! VOTE SEN. HARRY REID, JOHN McCAIN OUT NEXT YEAR Demand E-Verify as a permanent addition to 287 (g) local police restriction, ICE audits of piratical business. Demand E-Verify to eject illegal workers taking your jobs, so they will leave when unable to obtain a job. EVERYBODY IN THE WORKFORCE MUST BE IDENTIFIED--THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED FOR YEARS--AND NEW HIRES--EVERYBODY? OTHERWISE IT'S A GOOD EXCUSE FOR OPPONENTS TO FILE A DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST BUSINESSES WITH DEEP POCKETS. THAT WAY THE COMMUNIST (FOUNDER) ACLU WILL BE UNDERMINED BY THEIR RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF DESTROYING E-VERIFY, 287 G, ICE RAIDS AND OTHER ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES.

This is a battle we must--WIN--against illegal immigration, but we must have an orderly flow of legal newcomers specially professional people in the highest pinnacle of Engineers, computers and other skills. We cannot, shouldn't accept anymore poor people, when our nation has millions of mixed gender at the bottom rungs of the employment ladder living in poverty. NO AMNESTY, but amendments to the 1986 (IRCA) can achieve this goal, even though the American people are constantly lied to by those in power. Prior to any new laws all those potential immigrants waiting in other lands, already processed should be given first priority in receiving a work visa. While we spend billions of taxpayer dollars on the incessant wars, some of The People's money should have been appropriated for the originally designed border fence, not the single-layer barrier that was underfunded, with no intention of stopping the rush of desperate humanity to satisfy the money-craving business community.

NUMBERSUSA will show you the illegal immigrant costs and the enforcement gradings of those in Washington. CAPSWEB will explain irreversible population growth in California and nationwide. Other sites of interest on Immigration enforcement is ALIPAC and AMERICAN PATROL and THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. OH! DON'T FORGET THE 28 CENTS POSTCARD TO THOSE WHO THINK THEY CONTROL US.

arburg on Nov 26, 2009 at 16:22:31 said:


wartenb on Nov 26, 2009 at 16:19:18 said:

There is no logical reason to argue against immigration reform. Any society that denies the rights of one group of people welcomes divisive rhetoric. To deny civil liberties of immigrants; liberties given to us by God, our creator, is pant amount to the downfall of this great nation as a guiding moral light for the rest of the world. Whenever you take away the rights of one person you diminish the rights of everyone. We are one nation under God! Give immigrants the chance to pay a fine and stay here. What kind of nation do we live in where I.C.E. officers can legally come into your home and tell you how for the next 10 years you will be separated from your spouse or children for breaking an unjust law. Children cannot go with you because they are American Citizens. The children go into foster care. They will grow up to despise America for deporting their parents. Please support comprehensive immigration reform that allows everyone living in the United States to be United once again.

I fell in love with an illegal immigrant. I obeyed my heart. The "law of the land" would place a great burden on my heart.

My Government says that I need to live for at least 10 years without my wife. Punishment for entering illegally. My children and I are sentenced to 10 years along with my wife. The law says that Americans can not fall in love with illegal immigrants. As a result of filing papers for my wife with immigration she received deportation instead of legal residence.

In 1996 congress changed everything for Americans. We lost a little of the freedom we enjoyed before that year. In 1996 Americans lost the right to petition their government to allow their illegal immigrant spouse the right to live in the United states in a legal status.

This law needs to be changed along with scores of other abuses by congress in recent years that restrict the rights of Americans and promote this divisive anti- immigrant rhetoric.

nena marie on Nov 24, 2009 at 16:52:57 said:

Let me see if I get this straight.. all of you who are criticizing the 2010 immigration reform initiative which I deeply hope it gets through,-whether you like it or not- my prays will be heard! are saying that any AMERICAN who supports the reform is an ANTIAMERICAN? then, all of you are saying aloud that REAGAN was ANTIAMERICAN(1986 ),allow me to remind all of you that Reagan was not always a Republican.. he switched from the Democratic Party in circa 1959, So it has nothing to do with the political party.
Second, when will come the day when an American, whether white or n.. will take a farm job in California to raise crops at broad daylight? the answer is when pigs fly.

Bruno on Nov 20, 2009 at 18:03:48 said:

It is unbelievable how ignorant and racist views are held in a public forum. It is time to pass an immigration reform, it is the right thing to do. The time has come racist pigs, be aware that nothing will stop the divine mandate of immigration reform, God is in our side and we shall not be moved!

Brittanicus on Nov 20, 2009 at 17:03:12 said:

The SANCTUARY STATE of California needs to be placed on urgent notice by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) The state seem to be untouched by ICE, perhaps because they have cohorts of Democratic-Marxists running the Sacramento Assembly. Certainly E-Verify, the highly successful inhibitor of illegal workers throughout America, conferred less of an impact under California's sanctuary city policies. But more likely because powerful House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been pandering overwhelming support of the illegal immigration organizations, that have been growing in leaps and bounds. California has done hardly anything to the detriment of real Angelino’s, mainly because of pathetic Governor, Mayors, judges, elected officials and police departments are conspiring insensibility or are completely indifferent to the progressive crisis. Although estimates of the illegal immigrant population are inexact, the best estimation suggests that California is home to about 2.8 million illegal immigrants back in 2006.

Owing to the Southern border fence being nothing more than a phantom of what was originally planned, millions more poor humanity have likely swept across in the last decades. California has become a refuge for anybody who has reached the United States, and it estimated that ONE IN ELEVEN WORKERS IN CALIFORNIA IS AN UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN. Because of the travesty of our misguided laws, many pregnant women slip through the loose net of the Border Patrol, or airport inspection and can then immediately declare their baby is an American citizen once born? Under the refuge umbrella of the Sacramento retards, government entitlements have reduced California to near bankruptcy. Arizona has learned the hard way as a border state for being a financial sponge of the illegal immigrant invasion, and has introduced E-verify as a strict enforcement law. Arizona is just one state that has an employer sanctions law, intending to restrict any employers in the State from knowingly or intentionally hiring and/or employing illegal workers.

As of January 1, 2008, all employers in Arizona, regardless of size, are required to use the federal E-Verify program to identify the status of new employees. Thirteen states have passed laws that have mandatory laws relating to the operation of E-Verify, with strict ruling, with others states pending. California seems to be living in an unreality of costs to its legal population. In hosting America's largest population of illegal immigrants, California bares a huge cost to provide basic human services for this fast increasing, low-income segment of its population. The expenditure according to (FAIR) in the costs of education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens, and concludes that the costs to Californians is $10.5 billion per year. Among the key finding of the report are that the state's already struggling K-12 education system spends approximately $7.7 billion a year to school the children of illegal aliens who now constitute 15 percent of the student body. CAN WE EVEN IMAGINE WHAT THE GROWING COST BEING AT THIS LATER DATE?

California's addiction to 'discount' illegal alien labor is bankrupting the state and posing gigantic impediment on the state's shrinking middle class tax base," stated Dan Stein, President of FAIR. “California voters rebelled and overwhelmingly ratified Proposition 187, which sought to limit liability for mass illegal immigration. Since then, state and local governments have blatantly disregarded the wishes of the voters and continued to disburse publicly financed benefits for illegal immigrants It should be noted the Prop 187, was never allowed to reach the Supreme Court regarding whether it was constitutional? Today, California communities have been reduced to third world population, of illegal aliens families crammed into home garages and unscrupulous illegal alien landlords living on the proceeds.

We cannot accept our politicians paying lip service to the American population. Neither party has followed the true wishes of the majority of the US people? They have succumbed to the greed of special interest lobbyists and the open border Marxists. The Democrats have been infiltrated by anti-American, anti-sovereignty personages such as Liberal Billionaire George Soros. I watched the History Channels presentation of Second World War. Millions of American lived through the carnage in Europe and in the Pacific and now veterans remain homeless, while illegal alien families get priority in low income housing? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS OUTRAGOUS PICTURE? This is the exact same story in the Great Britain and the rest of Europe. Now the President Obama wants to open the doors to this nation even wider, by forcing upon us another financially crippling AMNESTY? Does he not realize that millions upon millions more indigent people, will try to reach America before the Democratic Congress finalizes this so-called Comprehensive Immigration reform?

Read about corruption and sanctuary city policies at JUDICIAL WATCH. CAPWEB, ALIPAC, CAPSWEB, AMERICAN PATROL & THE DARK SIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Hunt down you politician either over the phone at 202-224-3121, or go their in person. Tell them that they are--OUT--if they vote for any kind of AMNESTY. Tell them E-Verify must be made permanent, to start the "ATTRITION" enforcement procedure for every illegal worker in America? What can you do for AMERICA? We cannot afford overpopulation growth, or corrupt politicians pandering to illegal immigrant open border fanatics?

J Cir on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:13:33 said:

Memo to the the self-serving, anti-American Congressman and (illegal) immgrant advocates: THE PATHWAY TO FAMILY REUNIFICATION BEGINS IN EACH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT'S COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. American taxpayers cannot be on the hook for the social and economic costs incurred to reunite families that are "broken" because of the illegal activitiy of those family members who chose to flip a big middle finger to the soveriegn rights of the United States and continue to wage war within US borders, demanding health care, education for their illegal immigrant children, and countless cultural concessions in the form of accomodating non-English speakers/readers, greater emphasis on non-American history and heritage be taught in our declining public schools, etc.

These Congressman and advocates risk reawakening the massive opposition to amnesty that flared up in 2007. It will happen again and amnesty will again be defeated.

Joe on Nov 19, 2009 at 17:08:45 said:

The vast majority of Americans oppose "comprehensive immigration reform" amnesty which was already tried and failed in 1986. With our current U-6 real unemployment rate approaching 18% it would incredibly insensitive and illogical of Obama to push to amnesty millions of illegal foreign workers. Thus, the backlash against amnesty now would be even greater than that in 2007. One hopes the moderate, more sensible Democrats urge Obama to back off this.

nativessayno on Nov 19, 2009 at 16:44:37 said:

I'm going to call Ecuador and Mexico's congresses today too and demand Justicia for me and to all others that decide they want this too....makes perfect sense.

Oh, I don't speak Spanish so I will ask my request in English but first I will have a crew of "organizers" prepare my scripted request in English and translate it for me in Spanish...15 minutes later.

Then I will have a fiesta of chicken, rice and soda to celebrate my commitment to, uh...em...Justicia, that's it! definition of justice ONLY though...the old model of US justice and law model is no good anymore.

Good plan, don't you think? Leaders are not too busy and should put my plan before others needs, right?

BTW, no US public schools spaces can be utilized for this Justicia parties without being granted a formal permit from school/state/fed officials!!!

Julie B on Nov 19, 2009 at 15:51:02 said:

Our Goverment can not enforce our immigration laws now. If they put through a mass amnesty bill they will still be unable to enforce the law. What happens then?

20% of American citizens can not find full time employment now.

If the Democrats want to push this we need to get rid of them.
This is the law, enforce it and we may listen to what they have to say.

It is unlawful to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee an alien who is not authorized to work in the United States, and it is unlawful to hire any individual without verifying the employment authorization of that individual, either through the I‐9 process alone or combined with the Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) program (formerly called the Basic Pilot). §274A∗

Dave A on Nov 19, 2009 at 14:17:46 said:

Papers FIRST, then enter the country. Immigration is a privilege, not a right.




Just Posted

NAM Coverage



Advertisements on our website do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of New America Media, our affiliates or our funders.